The World Trade Organisation (W.T.O), is calling for sustained policies aimed at removing trade barriers in Nigeria.
Speaking at a meeting in Abuja, the head of the African Trade Policy at the W.T.O, Mr Jacques Degbelo, said the agency is working with the Federal Government to review the items on Nigeria’s import prohibition list.
According to him, removing barriers to trade in Nigeria would help improve the nation’s economy.
36 teachers in a public school in Maiduguri are set to be punished for being absent while the Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima, paid an unscheduled visit to the school.
The Governor, who visited the school on Wednesday afternoon, decided to take a roll call of teachers at the Lamisula Primary and Junior Secondary located in Maiduguri, the state capital.
He directed the state’s Head of Service, Yakubu Bukar, to call out names of teachers in order to identify those who were absent.
With a total of 87 teachers, 43 of them were identified as absent, including seven persons said to be on official leave.
Lamisula Primary School is one of the schools rebuilt by the state government after it was razed down in the early days of the Boko Haram insurgency when they held sway within the capital city.
Shettima was on a routine tour to assess infrastructure and facility needs of schools and to supervise renovation works being carried out in schools across the state.
On his arrival, students were found sitting on the bare floor and expressing his displeasure he questioned the situation, stating that he had ordered the state mechanical workshop to convey desks to the school.
“It is really disturbing that in the heart of Maiduguri, our children are sitting on the floor to learn despite thousands of school desks we have distributed.
“We have desks here that are bad and kept in one class, no one brought this to my attention and children who are desirous of learning are now seating on the floor. Even when the pupils are here seating on the floor, more than 40% of teachers are absent.
“Those absent will face punishment to serve as deterrent to other teachers and workers,” Shettima decreed.
Mohamed Abdullahi, a Somali-U.S national, has been elected as the country’s new president in a vote held in an aircraft hangar.
Ex-Prime Minister, Mohamed, beat President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in what analysts described as a surprise result.
The vote was held at the heavily guarded airport complex in the capital, Mogadishu, due to security concerns.
After the first round of voting, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was leading with 88 votes, followed by a former Prime Minister, Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed, and then Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, after which voting proceeded to the second round.
Earlier, a former female presidential contestant, Fadumo Dayib, pulled out of the race, saying the system was unconstitutional and corrupt.
The National Judicial Council (NJC), has extended the tenure of the acting Chief Justice Of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by another three months.
The action was taken by the council on the grounds that it may be impossible for the Senate, which is currently on recess to reconvene and screen Onnoghen before Friday, when his constitutional three months tenure as acting CJN would expire.
The Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit (Zone C) Owerri, has announced its resolve to put to an end to smuggling of contraband goods into the country with the seizure of 17 prohibited items recovered worth the sum of 194, 656 million Naira in January.
Speaking during the showcase of seized items at the premises of the customs warehouse Enugu, the Customs Area Comptroller in charge of the unit, Comptroller Mohamed Uba Garba, told journalists that eight suspects were arrested in connection to the seizure.
According to him, nine out of the seized items were vehicles worth over 35 million Naira, 382 pieces of used tyres valued at about 6.3 million, and 3077 bags of foreign rice worth about 80 million.
Garba explained that the ban became imperative because the activities of smugglers have continued to threaten lives of Nigerians and to a huge extent affects the nation’s economy negatively as rice smuggling affects the local rice production.
As for the tyres, he said they had expired from the country they were being manufactured, hence, using them in Nigeria would lead to many accidents.
“Rice smuggling has the capacity to depress the nation’s economy because it reduces government revenue, stifles domestic rice industries in addition to distorting supply and consumption data usually applied by the government as reference for sound policy planning”.
He then advised that people should make demands of customs duty and also go to customs office to cross check if it was being paid to avoid breaching of law.
The customs boss however warned those involved in the business to desist from doing so as disciplinary actions would be taken against them.
“NSC will not entertain any sacred cow involved in this illegal import and export of businesses”.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has assured citizens of Anambra State that power failure would soon be a thing of the past as the Federal Government is doing all to improve its supply across the country, as well as all other irregularities being experienced.
This is in response to several protests in some areas in Anambra state over the prolonged power failure as well as the outrageous bills being slammed on citizens by the power operating company, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC).
Residents of Ngozika Housing Estate, Awka, and the Awka North and South Association of traders dominated the protesting group, claiming that they were adversely affected by the prolonged power failure and outrageous exploitation of citizens through the billing system.
Their grouse with the EEDC, included prolonged power failure in their areas which they claim started since 2013 and the outrageous bills between 7,000 and 8,000 Naira slammed on them monthly by the electricity company despite the blackout.
Furthermore, it was alleged that the management of the EEDC never responded to the complaints and accusations levelled against them.
They appealed to both the State and the Federal Government to intervene in the matter and also enforce the distribution of pre-paid meters as it would help stop the Estimated Bill practice.
Mr Fashola, who was on a working visit to the State Governor, Willie Obiano, however gave a comprehensive detail of the events of the power sector including the three pronged plans of the government and issues of gas sabotage that had dwindled power generation causing a loss of 3000 megawatts.
He stated that activities of the Niger Delta Militants were part of the problems which led to the country losing about 3,000 megawatts on the western axis of the Niger Delta.
“Our strategy is a three pronged approach; short term, medium term and long term.
“In the short term, what we want to achieve is incremental power, the power is not enough.
“Unfortunately as we are gaining power in some places, we are expanding transmission and the transmission grid can now take 7000 megawatts but we are losing the power generation to gas sabotage and vandalism.
“So today, when we can evacuate 7000 MW we don’t have the fuel to fire the turbines because of the conflict in the Niger Delta.
“We are working to resolve those conflicts, you saw the Vice President during his Niger Delta visit, trying to generate peace so that we can resume production.
“More fuel also means more gas, and more gas means more power but if you follow what we have been doing, we are completing transmission lines, awarding new ones over the last seven or eight months, some of the power plants too are going to be finished this year, Gurara will be finished this year, Kaduna will be finished this year, Kashim Bila will be later in the year or early 2019.
“We are working to deliver some solar initiatives also to penetrate communities that have not seen power.
“These are some of our continuing plans for incremental power and also to address the liquidity issues in gas generation and also in distribution.
The former Lagos State Governor, announced an upcoming nationwide power audit to ascertain consumer power consumption rate and crosscheck the corresponding tariff to ensure its suitability so as to ensure that consumers do not pay more or less tariff and as such no one is being cheated.
He gave the assurance that the Federal Government would also address the metering system, having observed the agony people are subjected to with the estimated billing practice.
“When the census is being done, stay where you live, don’t move home to the village because that’s where we will know where you need power. If we don’t know how many people that need power, then we will never give enough.
“We are addressing metering issue with the DISCOs too, we know your experience with estimated billing, but it takes time to get to each house, we need to do a power audit and know the kind of consumption you are making, because there are different classes of consumers, there’s the R-one, a very basic consumer, vulnerable people, their own tariff has not changed, it is N4 per kilowatt hour.”
On solar initiatives, the Minister reiterated that in order to penetrate remote communities that had been in darkness all their lives, the idea was in the medium term plan when there would have been an increase in power generation and distribution.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has inaugurated the reconstituted Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue Service (IRS), charging the board to create a tax friendly environment in the state, while improving internally generated revenue for development purposes.
The governor urged the chairman and members of the state Board of IRS to ensure that they weather the storm of political blackmail and other forms of pressure in the discharge of their responsibilities.
Inaugurating the Board at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, the governor stated that the renewed revenue drive in the state is because of the dwindling revenue from the Federation Account.
According to him, the new board was selected because of their professional competence. He therefore warned members against getting themselves involved in unproductive politics.
The governor said: “It took us time to appoint members of this all-important Board because of our search for persons who are professionally competent to achieve improved revenue.
“Members of the board were chosen strictly on their professional track record.
“We have made commitment to the Rivers people and we are determined to continue to deliver on quality projects. We can only do this with sustained revenue flow. Therefore, you must work towards blocking revenue leakages, increasing our revenue and providing more funds for development”.
Wike went on to say that if the state is able to generate up to 50 per cent of her potentials, it would easily fasten the development process.
He told the reconstituted Board that this is their opportunity to serve the state and make a positive impact on the lives of the people.
In response, Chairman of the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue Service, Mr Thank God Adoage Norteh, said members of the Board are committed to delivering on the assignment of improving the revenue of the state.
He then gave an assurance that they would create a tax friendly environment and professionalise the revenue service of the state.
Furthermore, he solicited the cooperation of the leaders and people of the state as the board discharges its responsibility of generating the needed funds for development.
The Yobe State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) and the state Police command, have stressed their readiness for the conduct of the Local Government election slated for Saturday February 11, 2017.
Addressing newsmen on Wednesday in Damaturu, the state capital, the Chairman of the Commission, Mr Jauro Abdu, said the state electoral body is set for the exercise.
He also stated that both the sensitive and non-sensitive materials are on ground and ready for distribution to the 17 Local Government Areas of the state.
“The Yobe SIEC is fully ready for the exercise and I want to inform you that all our materials have been on ground for the past four weeks.”
The chairman also revealed that seven political parties are participating in the election.
Speaking on the security prone Local Government Areas, Mr Abdu disclosed that the election in Gujba and Gulani council areas would be conducted within the LG headquarters so as to give security operatives the opportunity to concentrate within the location instead of dividing their minds across the whole Local Government.
“The election will be conducted across all the wards except that we have agreed that for security reasons, the people of Gujba and Gulani will all concentrate in the Local Government headquarters for the exercise.
“This is to give our security the opportunity to concentrate in one location instead of having a divided mind.”
He called on the people of the state to accord SIEC officials as well as security personnel the desired cooperation towards a hitch free election.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Abdulmaliki Sumonu, assured residents that his men have long been mobilised for the exercise.
He then called for the cooperation of the well-meaning people of the state towards a successful exercise.
“The relevant stakeholders have recently met and have fine tuned ways of ensuring a hitch free exercise and by God’s grace, there will be no bridge of law before, during and after the election.
“I have long mobilised our officers and men for this exercise as they have been detailed at strategic locations to ensure law abiding people participate actively in the poll”.
The last time Yobe conducted LG elections, was in 2013 which ushered in chairmen and councilors who served in their elected capacities for a period of two years.